GLITCH partners with PR firm to promote gaming

Gage will be providing free representation for the nonprofit group.

Local game developer Shanti Pothapragada works at GLITCH headquarters on the West Bank on Tuesday night. GLITCH is a nonprofit that works with indie game developers in Minneapolis.

Kathryn Chlystek

Local game developer Shanti Pothapragada works at GLITCH headquarters on the West Bank on Tuesday night. GLITCH is a nonprofit that works with indie game developers in Minneapolis.

Benjamin Farniok

When video game programmer Shanti Pothapragada’s living room proved too cramped to work in, he decided to move his workspace to a local games culture group.
 
 
After the shift to GLITCH — a company started by University of Minnesota students — he and two co-workers hoped the new digs would help find a solution to his new problem: marketing.
 
 
Last week, GLITCH announced a partnership with Minneapolis-based public relations firm Gage, which has worked with companies like Microsoft and Sony, major electronics corporations with significant gaming divisions.
 
 
GLITCH was originally a student group at the University of Minnesota, but it split off to become its own nonprofit located on the West Bank. Now, they frequently hold events on and near campus.
 
 
Gage hopes to support the local independent gaming community by attracting local and national media attention, said Michelle Hoffman, a senior public relations specialist working with GLITCH.
 
 
“Previously, [GLITCH] didn’t really have anyone supporting them with press releases or media outreach, so we are hoping to do that for them,” Hoffman said.
 
 
Hoffman said she is now part of GLITCH’s advisory council, making recommendations for the group on top of other work Gage will provide for free.
 
 
Hoffman — a 2007 University alumna — said she has worked with major games publishers like Konami Digital Entertainment and THQ. Hoffman also worked on a public relations strategy for Planet Michael, a multiplayer virtual world based on the singer Michael Jackson.
 
 
Pothapragada said marketing is one of the biggest challenges for him and his coworkers at his company, Naming is Hard, LLC.
 
 
“Marketing is definitely one of the most intimidating things for an indie developer like us,” he said, adding he feels time put into marketing takes time away from making a better product.
 
 
“It’s scary that you could put out a quality game that is actually well polished and fun to play, and then no one could find it, and it could be a complete financial failure,” he said.
 
 
Pothapragada said he hopes Gage will be able to help him and his company when their game, “Chimera Genesis,” is released later this year.
 
 
Pothapragada is one of four regulars in GLITCH’s residency program, which allows developers to rent a desk space in the GLITCH office, giving him space for equipment.
 
 
In June, GLITCH will start their “Incubator” program to teach game developer hopefuls how to start their projects. 
 
 
While Gage will not be representing each developer on their own, they will be teaching them how to start their own media campaigns with the program. 
 
 
GLITCH also lets the groups access a variety of game development tools, like software, 3D modeling tools and game engines.
 
 
Pothapragada said their time with GLITCH has already given them opportunities to show off their game, including a chance to have their project play-tested at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
 
 
Evva Kraikul, executive director for GLITCH, said she is looking forward to working with the firm. 
 
 
“Having [Hoffman] on as an incubator mentor is really going to be powerful and game-changing,” she said.